JESSE MCDOWELL GRAVESTONE PHOTO
Buried in Graceland Cemetery, Burlington, Coffey Co., KS.
June 14, 1907
Jesse McDowell, who died Friday morning, was one of the oldest men in Kansas, having been born in Philadelphia, Pa., November 26, 1804. His life has been an eventful one and he served as a soldier in three wars. He fought the Seminole Indians when a lad, participated in the Mexican war and served three years and four days in the Civil war in K Company, 121st Ohio.
Mr. McDowell had an uncle who, it is said, lived to be 121 years old, and but for the accident in which several ribs were broken a few days ago, Mr. McDowell had good prospects for many more years and possibly to equal his uncle’s age. His father and mother lived to be about 70 years old.
Mr. McDowell has been twice married and his second wife survives him, aged 72 years. He had ten children, seven by his first wife two of whom are dead, and three by his second wife all of whom are living.
When a young man it was thought Mr. McDowell had consumption, but if he did he fully recovered.
He saw the first railroad in operation between Boston and Quincy Mass., over which horses pulled wagons in much faster time than was possible on the roads. He also saw the tracks upon which was fastened a piece of steel over which the first steam locomotives pulled the diminutive cars.
Among the various occupations engaged in by Mr. McDowell was sailoring, he having made a trip to England when a young man. He also “teamed” from Pittsburg, Pa., to Philadelphia through the mountains before the days of the railroads, receiving $7 per 100 pounds of freight for haulin. And then when the railroads were being built he took contracts for grading road beds. He made a trip to Chicago when there was only a trail and nothing at the lake except a trading post and most of the land now covered by the city of Chicago was simply a bog. He made the trip out with a wagon caravan and bought a pony there on which he returned to the east. In after years he returned to Chicago and his boat was the first one through the lock on the Illinois canal. He amassed what was considered a fortune in these days, but lost it all.
Mr. McDowell was a member of no lodge although when a young man his application was favorably acted upon by the Masons. He was a member of the Methodist church for many years and a few months ago in a conversation with the writer, said that he was “trying to make his way safely home.”
He has lived in Kansas for a number of years and during his stay in Burlington has been engaged in no regular occupation but “puttered” around at the house or walked down town to visit his friends. He was hale and hearty weighing about 200 pounds and well preserved.
The funeral was held at the home in charge of Rev. Geo. E. Tifft of the Methodist church and was largely attended.